Haitian Man Travels to Medical City Fort Worth for Sight-Saving Surgery
Leslie Innocent, a 54-year-old father of three, recently traveled to Medical City Fort Worth to undergo free, life-saving brain surgery that was not available in his home country of Haiti.
Innocent was able to have the surgery in Fort Worth in late April, thanks to the charitable donation of care by Medical City Fort Worth, neurosurgeon Anthony W. Lee, MD, of Fort Worth Brain and Spine Institute, and the efforts of Christian missionaries Virgil and Janie Kincaid of Bedford. The patient is regaining his eyesight and says he is ready to go home soon.
“I miss Haiti, I miss my kids and my activities,” Innocent said recently with a big smile. “But, I praise God for everyone who has helped me. I thank Dr. Lee, the medical staff and the hospital that gave me the care that I needed.”
Innocent and his wife, Vinette, have been staying at the Kincaids’ home during Leslie’s recovery from the surgery. They have been friends since 2010, when they met in the aftermath of a major earthquake in Haiti. The Innocents’ home, which was destroyed in the earthquake, was located near the central Haitian headquarters for the Pentecostal Church of God, for which the Kincaids lead global mission work.
On a recent trip to Haiti, the Kincaids noticed that Innocent was having trouble with his vision, and eyeglasses did not seem to help.
“We could tell something was very wrong,” Virgil recalled. “We got Leslie to go for a thorough eye exam, and the eye doctor recommended he go for a CT scan, which revealed the tumor. We were told he could go blind and maybe even die without surgery. But, surgery of that nature could not be done in Haiti, and it was recommended that he go to the United States to have the surgery. He did not have a U.S. visa, and the only way we could get him to the United States for surgery was to find a doctor and a hospital to write a letter to say they would treat him free of charge.”
So, the Kincaids searched for the right surgeon and hospital who could help their friend. The search led them to Dr. Lee and Medical City Fort Worth.
“Our job and our passion is to help people,” Dr. Lee said. “When people need neurosurgical care, we give them the best level of care, no matter where they are from or their situation in life. I’m very glad that we could help. I’ve been very pleased with the outcome of this complex surgery, and am glad to see Mr. Innocent doing so well.”
Dr. Lee explained that he used a minimally invasive “frontal keyhole” procedure, making a quarter-sized incision across the patient’s right eyebrow to access the tumor, located at the base of the skull. The growing tumor was putting pressure on the optic nerves, affecting Innocent’s sight, as well as on other important structures, such as the carotid arteries, which are responsible for providing blood to two-thirds of the brain.
“All of these important structures were right up against where the tumor was growing,” Dr. Lee explained. “So, it required very precise surgical skills. The standard approach would have been to make a big incision in the skull from the side, but the recovery for that is longer and more uncomfortable for the patient. Through the small ‘keyhole,’ we were able to do a less invasive procedure with less brain exposure and a faster rate of recovery.”
“The opportunity to help Mr. Innocent really touched the hearts of our hospital staff,” Medical City Fort Worth COO John Corbeil said. “This was a complicated surgery that included eight healthcare professionals just in the operating room, with many others involved in Mr. Innocent’s care. I want to say a special ‘thank you’ to all who donated their time and services. Above all else, our hospital is committed to the care and improvement of human life.”
Leslie’s and Vinette returned to Haiti on June 13, following a successful check-up with Dr. Lee. Vinette’s brother has been caring for the couple’s three children back in Haiti during Leslie’s treatment.
“We are extremely grateful for Dr. Lee, Medical City Fort Worth and a host of medical professionals who have given our friend, Leslie, the absolute best of care and an opportunity to continue a special future alongside his wife and children,” Virgil said.